Thursday, December 16, 2010

International Adoption

 So never got back to writing about the different "kinds" of adoption. here is my post about international adoption.  My post on domestic adoption is here.  My post on foster care is here.  And here is a post on open, semi open, closed adoptions.  And the above picture is our first real life meeting with our Jonathan.  Jonathan was born in Addis Ababa Ethiopia.  His referral came to us in September and we were able to meet him on December 27th, 2008.  He was 18 months old at that point.  It probably wouldn't have been as long except the fact that Ethiopian courts close for a couple of month each year, and they introduced a new government branch that all adoptions had to pass through. 
 There are many similarities with other forms of adoption- you need to start with a home study.  The paperwork that tells all about your family, the finances, the dimensions of your home, how you discipline, (maybe this should be a whole other post) etc.  BUT for international adoption you also have to have what is known as a dossier.  Yeah- that is in addition to your home study.  It is dependent on what country you adopt from what your dossier actually includes.  Sometimes extra verification that the right person has "stamped or sealed" your other paperwork.  Become close friends with a notary if at all possible!!!!

Like I said some of it is just a duplicate of what you need for your homestudy, but some of it are things like a letter of reason that you want to adopt from xyz country, power of attorney, obligations to post adoption reporting, more financial statements, pictures of specific things in your home, of your family, etc.  Then there is your USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Service) 1-600A form which is what you will need to bring your child back home with you.  You have to send in a copy of your homestudy, birth certs, marriage cert, letter to the USCIS stating what you are wanting to do, along with a nice big check so that they can schedule you for.....yes another set of fingerprints. 

Then you wait until you have your USCIS clearance in order to to get your Favorable Determination Letter- that letter says you are ok to bring home a sibling group under the age of 10, or 1 child under the age of 2, or whatever you have put as your parameters.  :) 
 Usually there are court dates, and Embassy dates involved as well.  These are important to make sure the child is legally placed for adoption, all of your paperwork is in order, etc.  Sometimes you are not in the country for these things and a representative from the adoption agency is there "for you".  Some countries require 1 trip, 2 trips, and for varying times for each.  Sometimes you have to stay a week or less and sometimes you have to be there a month or more.

 One of the harder things about international adoption is that it is not always stable.  Other countries have different rules, and sometimes change those rules as they go.  This can be scary, but as our agency said if you listened to all the rumors no one would ever bring these children that need homes- HOME!  Which leads me to the number one reason people adopt internationally.....because there is a real need!  Most of these children are not just sort of going without.....most DIE!  This is a reality.  We can close our eyes, and make assumptions, and say well it happens, but it doesn't change that fact that 1,000's of children DIE EVERY YEAR!!!!  FACT!
 International adoption is usually not for babies that are days or weeks old because usually by the time you bring them home they are at least 6 months- 1 year old.  Some countries they do not allow children to be adopted until they are older.

You may not know anything about the birth family at all.  Now I know maybe that doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but let that sink in......NOTHING about their past.  You may not know about medical past, abuse history, or anything of that nature at all.  We were fortunate enough to get to meet Jonathan's birth family, but MOST do not- ever!
 Some people can't wrap their mind around the semi-open and open adoptions.  In which case international adoption is a good choice.

International adoptions usually don't "fail" (unless the country changes the rules).  Birth families are far less likely to change their minds because the realities are far different than here in the US.  Now yes....there are exceptions, but they are pretty rare!

You don't wait to be "picked" by a birth family.  So you pretty much are "in line" to get the next available child with in your parameters.  So if you want a girl or boy age 0-18 months....once you have worked your way up the line your agency has when you are at the top spot the next child available is yours.  Unless you turn down a referral for some reason - (usually the biggest being medical issues that some don't feel comfortable with). 
 You can also adopt sibling groups.  Which cost wise is cheaper, and there are usually always sibling groups available.  Some programs you can also adopt 2 unrelated children at a time making it cheaper per child.  The average costs of international adoptions between $20,000-40,000 including airfare, cost of staying there, agency fees, etc. 
 One thing I wanted to talk a little about today is that some people are under the impression that international adoption is somehow "less" important.  They argue that there are children that need help here- TRUE.  However I would like to point out that God commands us to help our neighbors.  In scriptures when the Good Samaritan story is talked about one of the themes is the question of "who is our neighbor"- answer- EVERYONE!  I totally know there is a need here, see it, have heard the stories about it, and yet......have also heard the stories about the needs of other countries and see that too!

This is totally my opinion of course, but saying that we should only do domestic/foster care adoption is like saying we should only do ministry here in the US and not anywhere else.  BOTH are NEEDED!  BOTH are NECESSARY!  BOTH are WONDERFUL!!! 
 If you want to know how it us it was much like the other adoptions we had done.  Jonathan doesn't feel like he is different because he happened to be born in Ethiopia.  He had malnourishment in his past.  His bone structure identifies him as being from Ethiopia.  BUT GOD says - he is your son and I have chosen your family to care for him. 
 So just as with any other adoption.....there are papercuts to be had, there are technicalities that exist, rules to follow, and money to raise.......BUT there are lives that change- mostly our own. 
If you have any other questions....let me know.  I would love to try to answer them- or at least find out the answers for you :)


  1. Great post! Well said - and so true. Thanks! :)

  2. VERY well said!!! Merry Christmas.

  3. What sweet pictures. Goodness!!!
    Merry Christmas....

  4. Thank you for sharing and I love the pictures! It made me smile when you said, "One thing I wanted to talk a little about today is that some people are under the impression that international adoption is somehow "less" important. They argue that there are children that need help here- TRUE." I guess I've always thought of it just the opposite until recently. I always thought there were people lined up for babies right here, but that millions needed homes internationally. We've adopted internationally twice and are currently waiting to be matched for a domestic adoption because we were told that there is a need for families willing to adopt minorities. It feels a bit strange to be waiting to be picked while so many children are waiting to be picked. We were presented to a birth mom last week along with 14 other families. This baby was biracial, exposed to drugs, and the mom had no prenatal care. And yet there were still 15 families lined up to adopt this baby. I think it is absolutely wonderful, but I'm starting to wonder if the need here in the US is as big as I thought. I guess it comes down to the fact that EVERY child deserves a family and we just have to trust that God will direct us on the right path.

  5. I love this post! We are adopting through foster care and hadn't thought much about international adoption until pointed out that orphans in poor countries will most likely die young without a home, food and a family.

    We would love for you to add your story to our Adoption Blog Hop!

  6. All types of adoption is necessary. Every person needs to listen to God's direction in his/her life as to which route should be taken. Our family feels called to sibling groups, others are blessed to work with medical issues, and still others reach out to infants. God has a place for all of us to work, because we have different talents and skills. But the work NEEDS TO BE DONE!

    Thanks for the info about international adoption. We've only done domestic and are starting the process again in January. But we're planning to do an international adoption after this next domestic one. I'm in the process of information gathering and this post is very helpful for that.

    Blessings to you and your beautiful family. :)

  7. Beautiful post! Thank you for sharing that. It is so true! (:

  8. Love this post and love international adoption! SO thankful God has called us to bring our daughter home from Ethiopia! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  9. All children need loving families, it doesn't matter where they are from. I love your family. You and your husband are an amazing human beings. You are making such a difference in the world and lives of so many children. I am in awe of you. This little man is pretty adorable too. The bubbles picture is so cute.

  10. I must agree with the others, this is a great post. It seems that there is always someone who has an issue with any type of adoption. We've adopted all 5 of ours from foster care. People have a negative image of that too. If they find out there are subsidies available for some kids, then they must be doing it for the money. We have had a few people comment that we should have done more to help their bio parents get them back, instead of adopting them.

    We would love to do more adoptions...we keep praying for God to open the door. We are open to international, infant, or foster care again. We know there are kids from every nation, every race, every age who need a home. God will point us in the right direction in the right time.

    Prayers to your family! They are beautiful!